Healthy holiday eating

March 1, 2017

Put red and green on your Christmas dish list

Chances are, you plan to deck the halls for a very merry holiday season. And what better way to evoke the spirit of Christmas past, present, and future than with a traditional red and green color scheme?

Bring those holiday hues into your festive feasts, and you're sure to keep good health on the menu—even as you sample the occasional treat.

'Tis always the season

A number of fresh reds and greens are in the produce aisles now, waiting to star in your winter meals. Look for red foods, such as apples, beets, cranberries, red bell peppers, and pomegranates. And go for green ones, like Brussels sprouts, kiwi, kale and (again) apples.

Of course you don't have to stop there. Almost anything you could wish for is available year-round in the frozen food section. Frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh—if you skip those with added sugar, fat or salt.

Ready to transform a host of reds and greens into healthy seasonal delights? Let's get started!

Breakfast. For a green smoothie even Scrooge would love, toss kiwi, banana, and a few leaves of spinach or kale into the blender with low-fat yogurt.

Lunch. Get the kids involved in planning and prepping a midday meal featuring only red and green foods. Try veggie kebabs made with roasted beets, Brussels sprouts and red bell peppers.

Snack. Set out a bowl of fresh cranberries or toasted kale chips.

Salad with dinner—or as the main dish. Transform cucumber slices into stars with a mini cookie cutter. Toss with tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, chopped kale and a splash of vinaigrette. For some colorful protein—and to make this a meal—add cooked red lentils.

Dessert. Core green apples, fill with cranberries, drizzle with maple syrup and bake.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Institute for Cancer Research; fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

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